Study: energy efficient construction is affordable & brings quick payback

“Green-building” the average home to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code costs just over $800, which is more than recouped in energy savings after just 4 years of operation.

The blog Jetson Green turned us on to this story in Solar Today, “Energy-efficient construction adds $820 to cost of home“, which cites a recent study by the Building Codes Assistance Project showing that bringing the average new home up to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code costs a scant $818.72, and brings $243.37 in annual energy savings.  That’s a huge return-on-investment over the life of a home.

While the 2009 IECC is a relatively modest standard of energy efficiency, the study provides yet another piece of evidence and support for the notion that efficiency measures make homes more affordable to live in.  Put another way, green buildings are not expensive and “cutting-edge” anymore; they’re mainstream and can make housing more financially sustainable for occupants.

We certainly see this in Passive House projects: a modest increase in cost brings a huge decrease in ongoing operational expenses.  (That’s what 85% reduction in energy use will do for you.)  Same holds true for home performance work and energy retrofits.  Relatively modest up-front investments in energy efficiency reap big, ongoing rewards.  And if you factor in the likelihood that energy will be getting more expensive in the future rather than less, then energy efficiency investments make even more sense.

– Zack (Connect with me at +ZacharySemke)

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